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The Committee of the Regions publishes a report on energy poverty

Energy poverty is a widespread problem across Europe, as between 50 and 125 million people are unable to afford proper indoor thermal comfort. A common European definition does not exist, but many Member States acknowledge the scale of this socio-economic situation and its negative impact translated into severe health issues and social isolation.

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) political priorities for the period 2015-2020 refer to the importance of bringing Europe closer to citizens and building trust in the EU. Its European’ Commission for Environment, Climate change and Energy ENVE Work Programme for 2018 considers the implementation of the Paris agreement and the energy union as two of its main priorities, closely linked to energy poverty.

Energy poverty was at the centre of the recently adopted opinion on ‘Multilevel governance and cross-sectoral cooperation to fight energy poverty’, which objectives were to:

  • analyse the impact on Regional and Local governments of new binding requirements included in the Clean Energy Package;
  • analyse how the new Clean Energy Package is dealing with energy poverty, with a view to multilevel governance and implementation;
  • highlight local and regional needs related to energy poverty policies and actions;
  • analyse how the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is dealing with energy poverty and the impact of this ‘new pillar’ on the Covenant Community.

COFACE Families Europe is actively advocating on energy poverty, in particular though the Right to Energy Coalition, that just adopted a declaration calling for the recognition of access to energy as a basic human right, a democratisation of the energy system, and for an improvement of energy efficiency in homes to reduce the overall energy demand.

The ENVE opinion’s rapporteur Kata Tüttő (HU/PES) involved civil society including COFACE Families Europe in its drafting process, and in the expert workshop in which resulted in a territorial impact assessment report on energy poverty.

In the report you can find some of the key workshop’s recommendations:

  • A harmonised European framework to measure energy poverty and the co-funding of energy efficiency initiatives;
  • Requesting explanations to Member States which don’t address energy poverty in their integrated national energy and climate plans;
  • Better information sharing requires improvement in data collection including indicators – such as energy intensity per built square metre or average expenditure in energy, health indicators on diseases and deaths related to heat or cold;
  • A proper link between energy poverty initiatives and climate initiatives funded thourgh European Social Fund or the European Regional Development Fund;
  • The multiple benefits of energy efficiency should be taken into account and promoted;
  • Financing energy efficiency and renewable energies through general taxation rather than through energy bills;
  • Aside from taxation, market mechanisms can also be used when fighting energy poverty;
  • Renewable energy production by energy poor people could also help address the phenomenon. Renewable energy cooperatives/communities as well as Energy Service Companies could play a role in financing investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies for energy poor/vulnerable households.
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For more information contact Irene Bertana COFACE Families Europe policy and advocacy officer: ibertana@coface-eu.org